How He Felt

So I don't forget
his hands were brown spotted with the years
but smooth
warm at first
from the fever
and cooler as the day went.
The skin thin
on the arm
it crinkled
like aluminum foil.
The arm hairs short.
His forehead
felt dry ashy
but his hair was cool
thin but still soft and bouncy
But the eyes yellow in the whites
and the olive was dull.
He had a not great beard going
and the electric razor I bought him
sat in a box at home.

Shallow breathing.
A hard rasp every so often.
The last fight.


My dad didn't pick up
when I called his cell
at the hospital
this morning.
I eventually talked to a nurse
who said he couldn't remember 
the pin to unlock the phone.
My dad does not have memory issues
and while sometimes selective
he remembers with steel.
I told the nurse
this wasn't normal for him
but maybe he had that chemo fog
my girlfriend has
from treatment over time.

Christina did me yet another kindness
and picked up 
tamal en casuela from the Cuban place
and I took it to him that afternoon.
He had some
and let me set up the iPad
so he could watch baseball
but had trouble with certain words
and at the end of the night told me
"La computadora no esta buena"
and tapped on the right side of his head.
"Maneja despacio
y cuidado con las curvas"
was the last complete sentence
he spoke to me.


One Saturday
you walk into your dad's hospital room
as you touch
the skin
of his liver spotted forehead
and wonder if it's been like that
or if they're not cleaning him
you realize
you hadn't visited
for a couple days
not because you didn't want
to argue with or upset him
this might be the beginning
of losing
the man who 
chipped and carved at you
till you were mostly useful
withstood the barrage of your youth
and then waited
how did he know
to tell you he was proud
over the phone
as you sat in the grass
of your front yard
with your two year old boy
in the warm spring sun
oh this will be


Lot of stuff at work. 
My dad. 
Son and Woman. 
I usually write at night. 
But this week
by the time I hit the bed 
I just want to watch 
a YouTube vid 
or read a comic 
and let the darkness
skullfuck my eyelids down down down. 

They replaced the AC today. 
There’s dust everywhere, man. 
And that machine
is blowing it
into my every
single hole.